SALEM, Ore. – The latest ‘thing’ in headlights is getting HIDs, or High Intensity Discharge lights.
Cody Hoopman spent $200 dollars to make the conversion from his halogen headlights.
“The crystal blue, from my experience, seems to cut through the fog a lot better.” says Hoopman.
But at night, some of those lights can be blinding in the darkness. Lights so bright, some drivers like Allen Crosby of Salem believe they’re dangerous when trying to share the road.
“I had a large SUV on my rear bumper burning holes in my rearview mirrors with two, intense bright lights,” says Crosby.
Cody Hoopman said he knows his headlight setup is illegal.
“The only thing that makes them not legal is that they’re in the reflector buckets instead of projector buckets,” Hoopman admits.
Here’s why – think of your headlight like a flashlight, and inside is the bulb.
A halogen bulb is shorter than an HID bulb. A longer HID bulb filament widens-out the beam. That sends more glare out of the side of the light, right into drivers’ eyes.
There’s another problem with HID lights.
I’m 57 years old. A test at the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health Sciences University in southwest Portland confirmed I’m like most older drivers.
“The retina in the back of the eye, actually takes longer to recover when hit with bright light,” says Dr. Mark Pennesi of the Casey Eye Institute, “And so someone who’s older may actually take a longer time to recover from that.”
“I’ve made two stops today,” says Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Douglas Brown.
Brown says he tickets drivers for illegal headlights every day, and most say they bought the bulbs off the internet.
Brown says illegally bright headlights can have tragic consequences.
“I’ve had cases where they’ve swerved across into the oncoming lanes and hit the car that was blinding them,” says Brown.
Cody Hoopman believes the problem is not the lights, it’s drivers who don’t know how to install them right.
“Well if they’re aimed properly they’re not going to blind you,” says Hoopman.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, improperly installed headlights can throw out as much as 3 times the amount of glare legal headlight put out.